How did you get involved in the Green Party? What are some of the issues, actions, or memories that drew you to the party and kept you here over the years?
In my twenties, I realized that both major parties are controlled by corporate interests, as evidenced by identical lists of their major donors. I wanted something better. I knew of the term “green” being used in Germany, so I searched for a party with “green” in it, in California, and found more than I was looking for. The party had just earned ballot status in 1992 or so. I joined in 1995. What impressed me the most was that the major issues were not just about the environment, but about social justice, as well. This surprised me.
The Green Party best represents my concerns and my yearning for a government and culture that thinks ahead, acts in a fair manner, welcomes diversity, and serves to protect those who otherwise have no voice: the oppressed, dispossessed and downtrodden: both persons and the natural world. I stay, because if we are to have government, then we ought to have the best imaginable. No other party comes close, has such well expressed values, or is truly international (now in 100 countries).
What advice do you have for Young Greens about how to best grow the Green Party, and to make sure that we stay true to our guiding principles? What resources will you create to help the Youth Caucus educate new members?
Ensure that you find and train leadership – students especially; someone needs to lead as others graduate. Look into horizontal organizing training from http://organizingforpower.org and http://trainersalliance.org.Group sustainability requires that everyone rotates out of jobs, even if people don’t LIKE to do certain jobs. That way, you can avoid an overly centralized government with a few powerful and controlling individuals, and you can ensure that skills and abilities don’t leave with such people. Also, pick the guiding principles that mean the most to you, and really focus on them. Your passion and dedication will bring in people of like mind. You will also need to educate each other on the principles since most are unfamiliar with how to practice the philosophies.
How should the Green Party fight against the rising tide of xenophobia, racism, and prejudice that is emerging in our country?
By educating ourselves about the ways in which we still need to undo those aspects of ourselves that we inherit from the system we are raised in. Much about privilege is invisible to the person who has it. Being empathic, understanding and generous helps heal these fears and misunderstandings that you list. These negative behaviors and outlooks are usually based in ignorance. For example, Mexicans are slammed for coming and “taking our jobs,” but the person saying this may have no idea that NAFTA took away millions of Mexican farm jobs pushing them to the cities for factory work that then went to Asia shortly thereafter.
Run for office, and be a positive role model. Choose language that is appropriate, and avoid language such as “fight against,” “war on this that or the other,” and other violence-themed expressions. I just read an ad for food products, with the tagline, “your secret weapon in the kitchen.” Such language further normalizes war. Choose healing, instead.
How can the Green Party best mobilize persons of color, LGBT*QIA+, persons with disabilities, and others who face oppression into the Green Party?
Find out what practical barriers to participation keep such people from participating, and work to meet those needs so that participation is not a burden. Also, proudly welcome people into the party, showing them that our platform indicates support for them in terms of the type of legislation we have long advocated for.
The Youth Caucus Steering Committee has unanimously endorsed an amendment to the Green Party platform that rejects capitalism in favor of models of economic democracy. The entire Youth Caucus is currently voting on whether to officially co-sponsor this amendment. Is capitalism antithetical to Green values?
YES. Principled competition should not be at the expense of basic needs being met. Not everyone is capable of competing, and unchecked consumption is killing the planet. Companies that allow their workers to be shareholders are more productive because the workers have a stake in the success of the business. Cooperatively run enterprises are more successful than hierarchical ones. Capitalistic behavior that rewards irresponsibility should be phased out quickly as it is unsustainable and yes, antithetical to the core principles of the Global Green movement.
What should be the place of democratically run workplaces in America?
Cooperative workplaces are vital as well as other forms of participatory economies. We need a credit-based public money system, as referred to in the GP platform, expounded upon at monetary.org, in combination with the freedom of communities to choose what form of economics works for them locally.
The Youth Caucus has endorsed a plan–Green Ballot Day–whereby we encourage our members to stand at the polls on all primary and general election days from now on to collect signatures for ballot access (in relevant states). Will you support this plan? If you are the presidential candidate, would you ask your supporters not only to stand at the polls on Election Day with literature about your candidacy, but with ballot access signature sheets to get a jump start on the next round of ballot access (in relevant states)?
Yes, if election falls within the ballot-access time-frame stipulated by the powers that be. One cannot fill these forms out at any time of year. I suggest working with the Ballot Access Committee (BAC) who are aware of the legalities and difficulties (for example, if you are a Texan who has voted in the primary, you are disallowed from signing such petitions for another party).
The Green Party supports the abolition of student debt. The Youth Caucus has recently endorsed the Million Student March. What sort of direct actions and demonstrations do you plan on participating in to make this issue visible?
This is one of my campaign issues. I know what it is like to have student loans, and how difficult it can be to repay the debt. I would endorse and be interesting in speaking at such a march.
In what other ways would you expand the rights and well-being of youth?
We need to move society to one that respects children and affords them equal protection under the law. For example, children who are abused by an adult should be able to file charges against the adult.
I would drop the voting age to the age of consent.
Also, education should include critical thinking skills and media education so they can be prepared for the onslaught of propaganda encountered in myriad ways every day of our lives.
Access to information is vital to understanding oneself, one’s body, one’s options. Too many places youth are subjected to no or mal-information about very important aspects of life – from reproductive health to how to vote independently. This must be rectified for the well-being of society and future generations.
Other issues we support, that would benefit the youth, include affordable housing, free education (including college), single-payer healthcare, and defunding war.
Any additional thoughts?
There are more youth than there are adults now in the United States. They can direct the paths we take if they claim their power and use it. It is not an easy path, but it is vital.